Impressions: Franchise Ranking- Friday the 13th

There are a lot of great franchises out there filled with various highs and lows. I thought I would rank a few of them on the blog and why I put the movies in the order that I do. To be clear, these are my personal ratings entirely. While what I perceive as quality will impact where movies lay, for the most part, it is just personal tastes.

To kick-off, I thought we’d start with what is probably my favorite horror franchise, Friday the 13th. I consider it my favorite because while the movies go through so many various extremes in quality, I also find them consistently entertaining. There are some real quality gems in the franchise and a whole lot of campy “dumb but fun.”

So starting from least favorite to favorite here is my ranking of the Friday the 13th movie franchise.

Friday the 13th (2009)

In terms of overall quality, this is not the worst movie by any stretch. It doesn’t struggle in technical areas like many of the original franchise does. However, the movie is just… flat. I have tried giving a lot of the remakes that came out in the 2000s an honest chance, but in truth, a lot of them blend together. They are rather formulaic, and while the same can be said of 80s slashers, they lack a lot of the heart to go along with it. This movie is not bad, but it’s just not all that entertaining. There are some high points, and again if I am being brutally honest, it probably deserves to be higher in the ranking considering some of the later sequels. Still, when presented with a choice, I am almost always going to go with something else in the franchise over this.

Freddy vs. Jason

This movie… Fans waited for such a long time for it, with it being teased at the end of “Goes to Hell” 10 years earlier, and I am not entirely sure it was worth it. Freddy vs. Jason fits in perfectly for the times, early 2000s slasher flicks were trying to find their place between what we got as far as 80s slashers vs. 90s. It feels very of the times, for better or worse. It’s just not a great movie and not exactly as “fun” as some of the others in the franchise. Still, it has its moments and is good for a laugh.

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Another entry in the “dumb but fun” part of the franchise. Jason Takes Manhattan is notably disappointing because of how little of the movie is actually set in Manhattan. Most people tuned it excited to see the killer roaming the streets, only to find the vast majority of the movie set on a boat. Understandably, the bulk of the movie did not actually take place in the city as it would have been far too expensive to shoot there, but the title implies something the movie could not deliver. Still, if you set that aside, it is like many of the later movies, entertaining and more than a touch silly.

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

I was torn about where to include this movie on the list because while the movie itself is not the best, the idea and concept were cool… if underdeveloped. A New Beginning picks up after Tommy is released from an institution as a result of the events of The Final Chapter. While living in halfway house of sorts, we see that Tommy is disconnected from reality and paranoid about the return of Jason, then killings start to happen. What you are supposed to think is that it might be Tommy, which is an interesting idea. However, the movie is not fleshed out, so the red herring doesn’t exactly work, nor does the new identity of the killer have the impact it ought. I appreciate that it attempted to do something different, even if it did not work out perfectly. Decent movie, but ultimately it just falls in with so many others in the franchise.

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

Part 6 is where the franchise took a decided turn. It wasn’t that Lives was the first to take a step in the more “dumb but fun” direction, but it is where the series went full tilt that way. It establishes Jason as an unstoppable killing machine, and really set the tone for how the rest of the series would play out. I would argue that 6 on was almost a different franchise, and I am not alone in that. It rates sort of low on the list, though, because it didn’t lean into the silliness as much as others that come after it.

Friday the 13th Part III

Hands down the silliest of the first four in the franchise but still fun. I think it suffers in the overall flow of the series, however. It not being as silly as later movies means it is not a go-to for me for when I am looking for something like X, but it’s not exactly up there enough for when I want a more “quality” slasher. It ends up being kind of average but has that little something extra that the whole franchise brings, so has a place in my heart.

Jason X

This movie gets a lot of hate, and honestly, I can’t exactly blame people for feeling so passionately and negatively about it. This movie is a hot messy pile, but damn is it stupid fun. It is the most over the top and ridiculous of the franchise, but boy does it make me smile. I would consider Jason X one of the epitomes of the dumb but fun slasher. But also that updated mask!

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday

This movie also gets a lot of hate in the franchise, but in this case, I understand it less. There are some things I don’t super love in this movie, such as Jason having a sister. However, I like that it went in a slightly different direction with Jason possessing people. It has some great moments and is not the worst story in the franchise. It’s a solid movie, although it gets a bit lost in the franchise. It is not as silly as the movies around it but doesn’t get serious enough to be more comparable to the first four. I enjoy it, though, and think it deserves a bit more love.

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

Okay, New Blood probably shouldn’t be so high on the list, but I have a soft spot for this movie. Tina is an interesting replacement for Tommy, and the introduction of supernatural powers for our protagonist levels the playing field a touch. It is on the more silly side of the franchise and doesn’t have the greatest of stories, but I enjoy this one a lot.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

The Final Chapter is a difficult movie to rank. The problem lies in the fact that the franchise had already gotten a touch formulaic at this point. Most of this movie, while entertaining, is pretty standard fare for the genre and the franchise overall. However, this movie introduces Tommy. Tommy becomes a beloved and featured character at this point, the only one to not have a meaningless return, so, naturally, this movie holds a special place in fans’ hearts. Beyond that, though, there are some amazing moments with Tommy and Jason. Where Ginny pretended to be Pamela to trick Jason, Tommy pretends to be a young Jason. It is a clever move and also creates a question about Tommy’s sanity. The moment with Tommy hacking away at Jason might have a touch too much 80s with the soundtrack and the way his sister is calling to him, the whole scene if of the times and genre; It is powerful none the less. We saw something similar in Halloween IV. Was this child broken by what they witnessed and experienced, and by empathizing with their killer?

See, this will be the longest entry and the reason I am torn. There are others in the franchise that are more entertaining, even in the dumb fun way, but this movie deserves special recognition.

Friday the 13th Part 2

Where we finally get Jason, and the movies shift to a franchise. It’s a decent movie, steps down the suspense and overall “quality” from the first. It is, however still a great deal of fun without jumping to the “dumb but fun” way that the franchise eventually embraces. Ginny is also a great ‘final girl,’ and her quick thinking with tricking Jason was awesome.

Friday the 13th

Alright, the original takes the cake for me every time. A lot of that has to do with the fact that Friday the 13th very brilliantly plays with the audience’s expectations and slasher tropes simply by who the killer is. It was a clever move and helps make this movie stand out. The movie is also a well-done slasher flick. Decent gore and kills but still has suspense and fear, vs. when the rest of the movies just became kill fests. Easily my favorite in the series.

What do you think? Would you change up the order for any of the movies? Which is your favorite?

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